Page 7, 5th July 1963

5th July 1963
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Page 7, 5th July 1963 — LETTER FROM ROME
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LETTER FROM ROME

by Alan McElwain

OHNNY WALKER" was the nickname accorded the late Pope John because, early in his reign, he started taking sudden trips outside the Vatican and liked nothing more than to trot about among the ordinary people.

If his successor, Pope Paul VI, is also to rejoice in a nickname, 1 would suggest "Paul the Pacemaker". In the few short days he has been in the Vatican, he has cracked on the speed-and looks like accelerating it as he settles properly into his papal stride.

His programme since his election on June 21 has been a whizzer. Not only has he received in private audience most of the 80 cardinals who took part in the conclave which elected him; he has also received all the diplomats accredited to the Holy See, the Roman clergy, and a group of 400 Philadelphians who came to Rome for the beatification of John Neumann, the 19th century Bishop of Philadelphia, which had to be postponed.

The day after his election, Pope Paul took his first trip outside the Vatican when he went to See the sick Spanish Cardinal Enrique Pia y Daniel, who is living in the Spanish College, a couple of miles Iron) the Vatican. The same date he delivered his first radio broadcast to the world, which he is reported to have written himself in about two and a half hours.

Then, he summoned all journalists accredited to the Holy See to meet him in private audience last Saturday morning. On Sunday, he .went through the long, exacting ceremony of his coronation in St. Peter's Square before about half a million people. The Pope, by the way, requested that on his coronation day, a special dinner should be served to all prisoners in Italian gaols, and sweets distributed to children in hospitals.

For Cassino?

On Tuesday, Pope Paul, having previously granted ari audience to former U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon, received President Kennedy. And, as additional evidence of his unflagging pace, came the news that he intends to push right on with the second session of the Ecumenical Council, delaying the opening only to September 29-just three weeks after the September 8 start originally fixed by Pope John, whose ecumenical policies the new Pope has pledged himself to follow.

Even on Monday, the day after his Coronation, he was hard at work again. On that day he received in audience King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola. President de Valera of Ireland, the diplomats of the other countries represented at Sunday's ceremony, the official observers of the non-Catholic churches. including Canon Bernard Pawley, representing the Anglicans. In fact, I heard he was receiving people all day long.

It now seems, Vatican sources

say, that Pope Paul's first long trip outside the Vatican will he to Monte Cassino, 92 miles south of Rome, to rededicate the restored Benedictine Abbey there, which was destroyed by Allied bombardment during the war. Pope John had intended to perform the ceremony last year. but was prevented by his illness from travelling.

It is also being suggested in the Vatican that Pope Paul may soon summon a consistory to name new cardinals to the Sacred College.

To all the formal duties Pope Paul has so far performed must be added the countless administrative decisions a new pope is called upon to make in the first days of his reign. One of his first was to move immediately into the papal

Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage

THITcyrra3 pilgrimage to will take place on Sunday, July 28, when Masses will be celebrated in the reconstructed oratory, on the summit of Croagh Patrick, from four in the morning until twelve noon. Archbishop Walsh of Timm will preside and preach at the last Mass, in the Church of St. Mary, Westport, Co. Mayo, at noon.

Special trains and buses are being provided for intending pilgrims, while members of the Order of Malta, from various centres, have volunteered to organise the pilgrimage. Priests wishing to celebrate Mass on Croagh Patrick should contact the Administrator, Fr. Thomas Cummins, at Westport, Co. Mayo, Eire. apartments previously occupied by Pope John and not wait the customary several days while these were set in order for him.

No Siesta?

In the eight years Pope Paul was Archbishop of Milan. the industrial city "where people really work", he outdid the Milanese themselves in getting things done. During his tenure, as Cardinal Giovanni Battiste Montini, 72 new parish churches were built. 19 more are now in construction and 36 chapels were dedicated. The "Montini machine" ran so smoothly that Pope Paul telephoned the day after his election to tell his assistants to pack their things, and some of his own and head Straight for the Vatican.

His secretary, 39-year-old Don Pasquale Macchi, was already in Rome, having gone with him into the conclave. but two other young priest assistants, Dom Bruno Bassi and Don Luigi Sala, have since arrived, also three nuns who will look after the Pope's personal household. Soon things should be humming Milan-style in the papal apartments. Pope Paul has already announced that he has got out oh the habit of the Roman afternoon siesta.

One of Pope Paul's Milan servants. 48 year old Antonio Mapelli, who was his chauffeurhuller, has not been moved to the Vatican so far because of the difficulty of fipding suitable accommodation for him, his wife, and the little Mapellis of whom there are eight.

TV fan

Meantime, Signor Mapelli has been giving Milan newspaper reporters a few intimate glimpses of the new Pope. "The first time I saw him, he looked very serious. with those grey eyes that kind of 'get' you", he said. "But after the first few days I had worked for him, I realised he had a very tender heart. a heart of gold. When we were motoring he was either chatting, or reciting the rosary, or telling me to get a move on 'Hurry, Hurry, Antonio; if it's possible, try to speed up, because I'm in a harry', he would say. He never wanted to arrive late for anything" Signor Mapeili said he hoped he was not telling any secrets if he revealed that Pope Paul was a television fan. "He liked watching the news being read while I served him his evening meal", he added. He liked the news and the political debates mostly, but sometimes he would leave the set on if the variety programme which followed the news was amusing. After 10 p.m. he would play records from his collection, mostly by foreign composers like Chopin, Beethoven or Bach, but he also liked some of Verdi's operas. He would listen sometimes until late, because he said he never needed much sleep".

Papal Health

During his last days, Pdpe John gave much evidence of being conscious that death was ever with him. You will ricall his "Any day is a good day to be born and any day is a good day to die" utterance; also, back in April, while entertaining some children, he recalled that Pope Leo XIII had died at 93. Then, with a smile, he added, "Death is what must happen to us all and will happen, perhaps soon, to the Pope who is speaking to you". This was slightly different to Pope Leo. who, when someone wished him 100 more birthdays, answered, "Let no limit he put on the designs of Providence".

Pope Pius XI, who had been a mountain climber in his youth and was very proud of his good health. -They say I am 72", he once said, "but probably some mistake has been made in the records. Two things I have never experienced a headache and the sight of a dentist's face", He also confided that he prayed daily to St. Andrew Avellino that he might "help me to die suddenly like he did".

Pope Pius IX, who lived to be 86, was always extremely gratified when people remarked on his good health. "Your Holiness appears to be younger every time I see you", Count Tauffkirchen, the Bavarian Ambassador, once said to him. "Why appears?" rejoined the Pope, "Don't you know I have just joined the Catholic Youth Movement?"




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